The Eagles will go into Monday night’s game against the New York Giants with three starters in flux.
Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, and Derek Barnett are all listed as questionable for the prime-time matchup at Lincoln Financial Field.
Howard has missed the most time out of the three, suffering a shoulder stinger last month against the Chicago Bears. He has been a limited participant in practice since the team returned from the bye week on Nov. 12. He missed Saturday’s practice, and Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he has yet to be cleared for contact.
Agholor hurt his knee three weeks ago against the New England Patriots. He finished the game against the Pats, but missed the following week against the Seattle Seahawks. He was able to play against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, but has missed practice all week leading into the game.
Barnett left the Dolphins game briefly with an injury, but finished the game. He hasn’t practiced this week, though, and Pederson said both Barnett and Agholor would likely be game-time decisions on Monday. If Barnett isn’t able to go, the Eagles would lean on Vinny Curry, and likely integrate backup edge rushers Josh Sweat, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall, and possibly even rookie Shareef Miller.
Kamu Grugier-Hill was ruled out for the game with a concussion. The linebacker reported concussion-like symptoms to the team midway through the week, popping up on the injury report on Thursday.
Pederson said that if Agholor can’t play Monday night and the Eagles end up with just three healthy wideouts, third tight end Josh Perkins is enough of a hybrid that he could take some snaps. Perkins played the slot extensively last season in the Eagles’ Week 2 loss at Tampa, catching four passes on six targets, for 57 yards, including a 30-yarder.
Perkins, 26, played in the team’s first nine games last season before suffering a knee injury and going on injured reserve. He started this season on the practice squad, where he remained until last week’s game at Miami, where Perkins played strictly on special teams.
“They approached me about it,” Perkins said, adding that he already knew the routes anyway. “Just kind of going through it and looking through the little nuances of the game plan.
“It’s been a long season. I’m just trying to get in there and do my part, do my job, and stay ready.”
Edwards came in handy
The Eagles didn’t have a wide receiver on the field last Sunday when Miami tried a surprise onside kick, which, frankly, if you’ve paid attention to the Eagles’ wide receivers this season, maybe was not a crippling blow. Rookie Linebacker T.J. Edwards set up a touchdown drive when he recovered at the Dolphins’ 47.
“Definitely that week, we had a heavy emphasis on [the possibility of an onside kick],” Edwards said. “We did a good job of reminding ourselves every [kickoff] that it could be this one.”
Edwards said he normally would block and let someone behind him worry about recovering the ball, but “it came so hot, I figured I might as well step in front of this one and grab it. It ended up kind of bouncing my way a bit. It felt like as soon as the ball was kicked, it was right in front of me. It was either put up or shut up at that point."